Sunday, May 25, 2014

After the Rain ep08 : Houses of the Blooded

After the Rain

Episode Eight
"The City and the Clouds"

Houses of the Blooded

The survivors of the crash had set camp at the beach, building makeshift shelters with the debris and materials they could gather.  Galeo was among those grievously injured by the fall.  She had to remain in her shelter while the others considered their options.  Occasionally, she would groan and mumble to herself however, seemingly lost in her dreams, while she held the recovered Bloodsword close to her chest.  Oddly, Alto Valar has been suffering from nightmares as well.  Dag'ul seems greatly bothered but whatever is causes his discomfort, he has opted not to share.

Haroun suggests that Seran and the others consider finding a means to prepare Food worth two or three seasons worth of a journey.  He admits he knows of a way to "rebuild" an Airship and considers that the group's best chance to return home would be to fly the airship back through the mist wall.  Seran and Jaric reluctantly head for the woods to look around.   Alone with Nia, Haroun asks her now determined she is to help the others get home.  He tells her part of the secret to what keeps the airships aloft.  "Only a Name can keep such a ship in the sky."   He tells her that he will need to spend a few weeks worth of time casting a Ritual of Sorcery to build the airship.  However for it to work, he will need Nia to do an unspeakable act: She needs to kill Dag'ul so he can draw  out his Secret Name and use it to create the airship.

Nia agrees to do it.

In the forest, Seran and Jaric find a remarkable ruin!  The building is in the form of a beautiful woman.  Her naked body rests against a rock face.  At her throat, a seven-pointed star hangs.  Neither Seran nor Jaric recognize who she is supposed to be.  While Seran climbs up the statue to cut away most of the overgrowth of vines ot see her face better, Jaric finds a door between the statue's breasts and slides the door open.  He walks in even before Seran can head down to join him.  He hears some sort of clicking noise as the opening the door triggers something.  Oil pours from holes in the wall into some kind of channel on the wall.  A spark erupts and illuminates the room.

The chamber is a strange auditorium, with leveled concentric circles and two inner doors.  Jaric notices some ashes on the ground and realizes something had recently been burned here.  Seran approaches the inner doors and realizes they have wear and tear suggesting  signs had been repeatedly hung upon them before.   Jaric realizes even the lighting mechanism at the door was something that recently was triggered.. and was actually still well maintained.

That's when they hear the roar.

Nia watches as Haroun moves slowly and carefully with each meticulous step placed down to trace the outline of the airship on the sand.  She then turns to Dag'ul and considers how she will accomplish the task.  She tries to talk to Alto, but he's all panicked over how the stars are all wrong in the sky, and how this isn't the right place to be.  Dag'ul tries to convince Nia to leave them be.

An Ork tears through the doorway, and without a second thought, Seran draws her Bloodsword and cleaves it in two.  The body crumples to the ground as the costume splits open to reveal the ven within!  Seran realizes the "Ork" was just some Ven dressed up as one.  She finds among his remains a maroon letter and upon opening it finds a glass slab etched with an invitation:  The ven was a guest to someone's Ork Masquerade.  The grounds they stood on were owned by some Countess named Amanda Tal, Blooded of the Wolf.  And worse even, Seran had just murdered one of her guests.

Back at the camp, Galeo moans to herself.  "The sword is responsible for the death of one of the Suaven.  The soul is in the sword, so I can hear it..."  

The revelers down the passageway can now be heard as they are running down the same route as the first "Ork."  Seran and Jaric hurry away, even as Nia approaches the woods, to escape back to the camp.  The three panic about what to do with the situation, and at one point, when some of the revelers emerge near the camp, the group considers how to hide the murder.  But eventually, two arrive that bring a twist to the location they are in.  The two identify themselves as Kithranus Yvarai and Circe Yvarai, and both seem extremely eager to make themselves useful to the group.  Jaric is confused.  Neither fit the description of how they were written of in Ven lore.  Adding to the shock was the arrival of Madelyn Yvarai, the mother-in-law of Kithranus.  She identifies herself as the Bronze Inquisitor and questions the group on their presence at the island.  Haroun charms her, talking about being dignitaries from beyond the mist wall, and shares how a winged Ork had attacked them, and "to their knowledge", the thing attacked someone at a ruin further towards the woods.

She personally welcomes them and escorts them to the home of Countess Tal.

Their arrival is met with much fanfare, and the group is very quickly ushured to join and watch "an Opera" as part of their welcome celebration.  The group is aghast to watch what looks like the most terrible of plays ever presented.   The tale is supposedly a retelling of the stories of two heroes who go against great villains and trials.  Hurrying away, Madelyn Yvarai is outside waiting for them.  She apologizes for the deception and leads them to a waiting balcony where one of the althenta await.  Supposedly one of the five remaining original Cavilo Adrente designs, she reveals to the group an unthinkable truth:  The "ven" they were meeting were not actually ven.  They were Ruk.  Servants of a new approach to Ven Society, they were the "front line" to watch the outer most ring of what is now The City in the Sky.  Rebuilt from the ruins of the first Senate house, Madelyn tells them how the group were now standing upon the proud Davfanna Aldrena.  She tells them of the great Storm that destroyed the Senate House in the past.  Of how Orks calling themselves the Fenris stole into the Suaven chambers beneath the Senate House and took the Suaven away throught he Mistweir.  She tells them that she knows who they are.  "You are the Orkish Ven.  The Ven the Fenris took to the Wilderness when the Greatest City in the World fell apart.  You are the ones they thought to 'save'."  Jaric is dumbfounded.  He can see how the stories fit when viewed in that manner.

As the airship continues to rise, Nia and Seran realize the city they were flying over was much like a reverse of the auditorium.  Circular city segments, all surrounded by the Mistweir.  Each section rising higher than the previous one, like a  conical pyramid that reached for the sky.  The center region stood the highest, almost invisible unless one learns to gaze against the sun.

"The Ruk at the outermost region are unaware they are not ven.  So we have given them the illusion that they are, to better allow them to fulfill their duties.  As we move deeper inner into the city, I shall introduce you to the true Ven of Shanri," Madelyn smiles.  On the deck, the group find themselves greeted by Kithranus Yvarai, the Crimson Inquisitor, and the Minister of Sorcery.  Madelyn is the Bronze Inquisitor, and the Minister of Defense.  She tells them she would like to introduce them to Quan Wei, the Minister of Healing and Restoration.  When Jaric asks more questions, Madelyn holds his hand and asks him to promise never to lie to her.  He agrees.  Madelyn then admits one more truth:  Kithranus, like many other ven, are not actually ven.  They had perished during the Storm and the destruction of Davfanna Aldrena.  They were merely Tulpa, created by Madelyn to serve her, and to stand and living memories of all she had lost.

The airship carries them further up.
There is no telling where they will end up, or whether or not the others such as Galeo are headed the same direction.  And worst of all, no idea whatsoever, on how long it will have to be until they can find their way back home.

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